MATT Ford has offered improved terms to James Shanes and is hopeful the Puddletown racer will agree to return to Pirates.

With six of his seven riders in place for the upcoming SGB Premiership season, it remains only for Ford to recruit a reserve to partner Mateusz Szczepaniak.

The Poole boss stated his intention to bring back Shanes in October but the move was always dependent on which riders came in higher up the order.

But with deals for Brady Kurtz, Josh Grajczonek, Linus Sundstrom, Chris Holder and Kacper Woryna finalised, Ford has attempted to secure Shanes for a second straight season.

He told the Daily Echo: "We've offered James terms. He endeared himself to the fans last year and I know he has picked up additional sponsorship locally with Meridian Lifts increasing their sponsorship and Wessex Marine coming on board.

"I haven't yet confirmed things with James but I am hopeful he will accept the terms offered, which would give him a slight increase on last year.

"He is certainly my first choice for the final spot."

In the event terms cannot be agreed, Ford would turn elsewhere with the 3.51 points he has left to play with.

The likes of club asset Ellis Perks, Jan Graversen and Ben Morley would fit the bill but the Echo understands Aussie youngster Josh Pickering would be the most likely option.

Ford is an admirer of the Edinburgh racer's talents and the 4.62 average he achieved in the Championship last year is – when converted – low enough to fit into the Poole septet.

Pickering raised eyebrows earlier this month when he roared to 14 points in the opening round of Australian Senior Solo Championship at New South Wales circuit Kurri Kurri.

He finished second in the A final behind eventual series winner Rohan Tungate, beating former world under-21 champion Max Fricke in the process.